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Mobile

  • Opera Mini now features a built-in ad-blocker

    Opera Mini, the mobile browser that many use on Android devices (and some other platforms), now boasts a built-in ad-blocker. This new move comes on the back of its free VPN service on desktop browsers it launched earlier this year. The ad-blocker on Opera Mini though suggests that the company's looking at the lower end smartphone market, those users strapped for processing power and data. The blocker therefore saves around 14% on data, and nearly halves page load times, the company claims. While you could theoretically download Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox for mobile (these are available on other platforms too), they...

  • 5 things I’ve learned from the South African mobile money space

    The 2015 Ericsson Mobility Report tells us that by 2020, 70% of the world will be using a smartphone. It even says that mobile data networks will cover 90% of the population with subscription reaching 6.1 billion people and almost 80% of these new subscriptions will come from Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Now, this tells me one doesn’t need to be a fortune teller to see what is going on and as a person who’s been in the mobile industry for years, I can say without a doubt, mobile money is the future of the world....

  • Help is literally at hand for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in South Africa

    In amongst all the frothing at the mouth about the latest Apple iPhone-this and Samsung Galaxy-that, I do love a good “feature phones change lives story”. So I eagerly joined today’s Cape Town launch of Help@hand, a mobile information service that provides people who are refugees, asylum seekers or migrants with a way to stay informed about their legal rights in South Africa. The USSD-based feature phone service is also a platform to report xenophobic attacks, corruption or unlawful arrests. Crucially, the first-of-its-kind in South Africa, low-cost service is available in English, Kiswahili, Somali and French, with Oromo due for...

  • Your smartphone is about to get a whole lot smarter, thanks to its sensors

    While you may think that your smartphone has peaked in terms of the amount of data that it can provide about your life, you would be mistaken. The staggering power of the sensors and processors that we carry around with us every day mean that we will continue to harvest more and more data in an attempt to make our lives more automated, more manageable. Modern smartphones produce up to 1GB of sensor data every hour. And we’re only just beginning to tap into it. German startup predict.io is at the forefront of attempts to harness that data. The...

  • Beauty and the brain: why it’s impossible to take your eyes off an iPhone

    There is an inherent paradox in the title of this article: While beauty does not need “reason” to make an impact, there is still so much we can learn from exploring why it impacts us. When humans experience beauty, the brain’s default mode network (DMN) activates and begins interacting with other brain regions. Together, these regions process emotion, perception, memory, imagery, and language — it’s no wonder beauty is so deeply moving to us. As such, the more senses involved in a beautiful experience, the greater the chances are of complex neurological interactions and brain growth. Now, think about...

  • BlackBerry rolls out major BBM update, lets users ‘retract’ messages

    BlackBerry has announced that its instant messaging service BBM now includes a host of new privacy features for users on Android and iOS, allowing users to "take control over the messages and content that they share." Users can now 'retract' sent messages and images if they were sent by mistake. This also works if the message has already been sent, and the sender wishes to revoke access to said message. Other features include a new message timer, which allows users to "control how long contacts can view messages and pictures that have been shared or communicate their location for only as...

  • Introducing Privil: the app to help you keep your privilege in check [April Fools article]

    Privil, a new app for iOS and Android devices, promises to keep user's privilege in check. Grandt Sham, founder, notes in a press release that the number of people who either do not know or deny their privilege is proportionally high, and that as a social entrepreneur, he felt compelled to do something about it. The app has two functionalities: it measures the user's privilege and that of someone else's, ensuring that you and your circle of friends are not suffering from excessive amounts of privilege. The app uses a minimalist design, sporting camera, text input and rewards features. But how does...

  • Why prepaid SIM cards are critical for businesses

    Data traffic is expected to see an almost ten-fold increase by 2019, due to the growing range of new services and applications. However, while the GSMA Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2015 report projects that machine-to-machine connections (M2M) in the region will reach 30 million by 2020, difficult economic conditions mean that enterprises using this technology remain under pressure to reduce their mobile data expenditure. With the need to tighten budgets and a push to be more efficient, enterprises are re-examining their mobile data expenditure. And prepaid offers a perfect alternative. The age of enterprise prepaid is here Gone are the days when...

  • 5 things you need to know about building a great self-help app

    Mobile technology has changed the landscape of the self-help world. Whereas once people had to read long books, carry around notepads, and try to remember all the life lessons offered by gurus, today they can get everything they need through their smartphones. Each user has his own tailored program in his pocket that will remind him throughout the day of the various tasks he should be doing, and he doesn’t have to pay US$10 000 for the privilege of its wisdom. This technological revolution in self-help is a welcome one. Mental disorders such as depression affect about a third of all...

  • Facebook to drop BlackBerry OS app support by end of 2016

    If you're using a BlackBerry that's running any version of BlackBerry OS -- this means all devices up to but not including the PRIV -- you'll likely have to fling it through a window if you're still interested in using WhatsApp or Facebook beyond this year. The social media overlord has announced that it's dropping native BlackBerry app support for Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps on the platform by the end of 2016. Although BlackBerry 10 OS runs Android apps, the system is clunky, and involves a ridiculous sideloading process, which is more of a headache than a solution to the...

  • Why China is in the middle of a mobile payments boom

    China's mobile payment market is booming. Thanks to Alipay and Tencent, local consumers are very happy to make payments by phone - not just online but in store too. Now, new entrants like Apple and Samsung want to provide some competition... Just weeks ago, Apple made headlines when it launched its Apple Pay mobile payment system in China. Typically, when the iPhone maker debuts Apple Pay in a new territory it instantly becomes the market leading system. For two reasons: one, the halo of hype around all Apple launches; two, the lack of local competition. This is not how it...

  • Could a smartphone app really help combat crime in SA?

    South Africa has a brutal crime problem and it affects everyone. The rapes and murders of teenage girls in Khayelitsha (one of Cape Town's poorest areas) and Tokai (one of its wealthiest), bears witness to that fact. In the face of such violence, it's easy to feel helpless, but two concerned Capetonians believe that technology may help people feel safe again. Sham Moodliar and Elizabeth Senger are putting together a 48-hour hackathon, aimed at building an app which connects people wanting to enjoy the outdoors safely, or even just walk from point A to B. Called Hambasafe -- Hamba...

  • Why is this SA radio legend betting big on personality-driven streaming apps?

    Memeburn readers of a certain age might remember blasting their radios to the latest dance hits in preparation for a big night out. And if you were listening to one of those stations in particular, chances are the person mixing those tracks was Derek -- aka "The Bandit" -- Richardson. Now working at an ad agency on the Isle of Man, Richardson is also one of a handful of high-profile South African radio personalities throwing their weight behind a suite of genre-driven streaming apps. Powered by South African media giant Kagiso, Richardson's app is called Databass and features a...

  • Wikipedia iOS app gets update with 3D Touch, personalisation

    Old players like Wikipedia are learning new tricks. Wikipedia today updated its Wikipedia iOS app and the 15-year-old fact-checking company is adding some nifty features. The two notable additions are the inclusion of 3D Touch features and the app's improved personalisation capabilities. The 3D Touch feature was introduced in 2015 with Apple's iPhone 6s and 6s smartphones. From now on, Wikipedia app users on these devices will be able to utilise the peek and pop functionality of 3D Touch. They can also utilise multi-touch gestures like swipe and tap to navigate within the app. Another uniquely iOS feature included in the...

  • Bridging the African digital divide through mobility and partnership

    The internet has undeniably become the lifeblood of our society, providing essential access to jobs, public services and resources to citizens. Digital services and the internet are likely to be the future of the economy and of the workforce. It follows, then, that those who are unable to engage online, or who do not know how to engage online, are excluded from the innumerable opportunities that the internet provides. They are facing a hidden, digital poverty. It is this digital poverty that is plaguing much of the African continent. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report...